Justice served on dishonest law firm over fraudulent insurance claim

Asons/Coops Law headquarters on Churchgate, Bolton

Legal action has resulted in a court ordering payment of around £30,000 in costs following a long-running case involving a Bolton law firm, which was closed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in June 2017.

Specialist law firm HF, formerly Horwich Farrelly, worked with its client, First Central, to bring the now defunct Asons Solicitors, a medical expert and the former boss of a medico-legal agency to account.

They made a dishonest claim in the name of a claimant who had no knowledge of it whatsoever.

The claim by Asons following a road traffic accident in October 2014, included a medical report prepared by Dr Michaela Coman, a GP expert instructed by Asons via TMT Medicals.

Haroon Karim, a former director of TMT Medicals, in a similar scenario, had been sentenced to jail in 2019 for his role in advancing a claim, again via Asons solicitors, which rebranded to Coops Law before closing, in the name of a man who had no knowledge of the proceedings.

The supposed claimant did not engage with the litigation resulting from the claim and, as a result, HF secured a costs order against him of around £8,000.

When he was chased for payment he pointed out that he not only had no knowledge of the claim but, in fact, had not even been involved in an accident.

Once he was able to establish that he was not involved HF, on behalf of First Central, successfully pursued the solicitors, the medical expert and Haroon Karim, for wasted costs. They will now be responsible for the costs estimated at around £30,000.

His Honour Justice Luba described the issues in the case as “truly extraordinary” and pointed out that this was not an isolated occurrence.

Alex Wilkinson, partner at HF, said: “Insurers and the public must have trust in those representing claimants.

“Asons solicitors have been shown time and again to have singularly failed in establishing that trust. Haroon Karim, too, is someone who I have tackled before in respect of his dishonest conduct.

“Their actions, and the actions of Dr Coman in not carrying out her duties to the required standard, cast a stain over the whole industry.”

He added: “First Central’s decision to tackle this shoddy practice will, I hope, send a message that if claims are advanced dishonestly, then those responsible, including the ‘professionals’ running the claim should expect to face punishment.”

Paul Priestly, Counter Fraud Director, First Central said: “We are committed to properly compensating those who have genuine claims arising out of road traffic accidents.
“We vigorously investigate potential dishonesty and it is a disappointing facet of the current claims industry that those investigations too often end up with dishonesty being found on the part of a claimant’s representatives.

“I am pleased we have been able to send out a message to the industry that standards must be better and demonstrated our willingness to take action against enablers when appropriate.”